Vigilance Advocated for Protection Against Swine Flu

CANADA - The Western College of Veterinary Medicine is calling for vigilance to minimize the risk of Canada's swine herd becoming infected by a human form swine flu, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 28 April 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

An outbreak of an H1N1 strain of swine influenza A in humans, which has spread throughout Mexico, is being blamed for over 100 deaths.

Cases have also been reported in the United States and Canada resulting in mild illness.

Western College of Veterinary Medicine Associate Professor Dr. John Harding says ironically, while we call it swine flu, this particular strain is not affecting pigs at this time but pigs are susceptible so veterinarians and producers must be vigilant in trying to prevent herds from being infected.

Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Symptoms in humans are typical of the seasonal flues that may come, aches and pains, fever respiratory disease so anybody with those symptoms particularly if they've been in Mexico or have contact with other infected people need to be contacting their physician as soon as they possibly can.

In pigs it's also a respiratory disease.

Pigs will develop a fever.

We're not so sure about the aches and pains that humans would see but certainly we can see very severe clinical signs which is more typical of the classic H1N1 or we could see just more very subtle clinical signs, a few pigs coughing in a barn which is almost difficult to diagnose and distinguish from other pneumonias so I think producers need to be very vigilant that, if they see changes in the respiratory disease status on their farms, then they need to be calling their veterinarian.

Dr. Harding stresses pork is safe to consume for two reasons, we don't see high levels of influenza in meat or meat products and if you handle and cook your pork carefully and properly there is absolutely no risk.

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